Measuring the mobility parameters of tree-length forwarding systems using GPS technology in the Southern Italy forestry
Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Department of AGRARIA, Feo di Vito, IT 89122 – Reggio Calabria, Italy
The introduction of modern forwarders to Apennines forest operations must account for the traditional forwarding units used by local logging contractors. They generally use the same machine for extraction and intermediate off-road transportation on mountain trails, inaccessible to heavy road vehicles. Conventional forwarders are not designed for fast transportation on trail and cannot replace conventional. This research set up a long-term follow-up study to determine the use pattern of three conventional tractor-trailer units (Forwarder, forestry trailer and articulated truck). The goal of this study was to gauge the potential of these machines. In particular, the study determined for both machine types: monthly usage, incidence of travelling time over total time, distance covered and travel speed. The null hypothesis was that use pattern, average travel distance and speed distribution did not differ between traditional tractor and trailer units and high-speed forwarders. For this purpose, Global Positioning System/Global System for Mobile Communications data loggers were installed for continuous real-time collection of the main work data, including position, status, speed and fuel consumption. The study showed that new forwarders could actually travel at a speed higher than 24 km h−1, and they performed both extraction and intermediate transportation. They were capable of independent relocation, which made them suitable for small-scale forestry. Both machine types were used intensively, but the annual usage of forwarders was almost twice as large as that of tractor-trailer units. Furthermore, forwarders had a 27% higher hourly productivity and a 50% higher fuel consumption per hour, compared with tractor-trailer units.